Backstory – A Woman’s Prayer
I enjoy reading letters, poems and prose written long ago. Living in Civil War country, the libraries and museums hold a wealth of hand-written words from soldier, parent or brokenhearted lover. Viewing artifacts from the period and hearing of the battles sets the tone for reading the words with sympathy and empathy.
The prose of old seems so lyrical, especially when alluding to romance or the possibility of mutual affection. How I enjoyed reading the letters sent by my grandfather Anthony to the lovely Stella who he met at an afternoon dance and with whom he was immediately smitten. I could just see their love grow, as the letters moved from witty to wistful to fervent. Our family is so fortunate to have this relic of the short time they spent together and the love they shared.
Another favorite reading is self-composed prayers. While churches provide prayers in books to guide our words at Sunday service, I so enjoy reading the words composed by a single person, beseeching divine intervention. The glimpse of a conversation between a person and their deity is intimate, personal and precious.
In today’s Consider This show, you gain access to the heart and soul of a woman who was mother and wife, more than a hundred years ago. Come with me as we listen to her prayer and marvel in its simplicity and humility. How many of us might prayer the same words today?
A Woman’s Prayer
Elsie sent in a prayer written by Lillian Mayfield Roberts, sometime between 1921 and 1938. After 80 years, it still seems a relevant appeal. Lillian prayed,
“Dear God, I am a woman – no weaker and no stronger than the rest. And I ask this prayer tonight, for help and guidance in the little things.
“If I could feel your hand upon my lips on days when I am sick, or merely tired of all the trivial worries, perhaps the stabbing words would dart out, to wound my child, and turning, cut into my heart.
“I do not want to nag. I only want guidance to understand that each of us has her small troubles, and that mine are not harder in truth than other women bear.
“And when the little troubles vex me so, I am too prone to turn and cry them out In maudlin tears upon my husband’s breast. Keep me from this; he has enough to bear.
“And one more prayer that I would make tonight: If I could only see the difference between the really big things and the little things. . .
“I do not ask for better, or for more, I only ask for this: God keep my soul from growing petty. It will be enough. Help me in this, and I am satisfied.”